The $500K question: Here’s what half a million will buy you in the Eagle County real estate market
Editor’s note: This story is the fifth and final part in a five-day series focused on housing issues in the Vail Valley. To view the entire series as it unfolds, visit vaildaily.com/news/home-economics.
Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make in your life. In a tight housing market, like Eagle County, actually finding a house is perhaps even harder than hammering out all the financial details of what you can afford.
“Inventory is at a 10-year low. That is a really key component to the amount of listings that are available to people under [$500,000],” said John Pfeiffer, president and employing broker at Slifer, Smith & Frampton.
He added that the Vail Valley’s seen a stable, healthy economy since the recession in 2008.
“The good news is, a lot of the inventory we had a few years ago has been purchased. A lot of buyers stepped into the market and a lot of those listings are now gone,” he said.
Despite the relatively slim pickings, Pfeiffer stated that now is a great time to buy a house, for those considering, because interest rates are low and home values are increasing at healthy rates.
“Prices have not gone crazy in running up, so they’re not paying a peak price, and interest rates are at record lows. That’s a dream scenario for newer buyers,” he said.
The Vail Daily decided to see what $500,000 could buy in the Eagle County real estate market.
Each listing chosen was sourced from Zillow, an online real estate search website used by many home buyers, and reflects the highest-priced listing in the area without breaking that $500,000 cap at the time of writing. “Number of Zillow results” refers to how many listings Zillow fetched in the search. Search settings on Zillow have been set to a maximum of $500,000, and the additional settings are set to allow the maximum number of home listings to come through.
Here’s a list of home prices under $500,000 in Eagle County’s main residential areas along I-70, including Minturn.
36 Steamboat Dr., $500,000
Specifications: 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, 1,932 square feet
Year built: 2017
Number of Zillow results: 44
Located in the Aspen Ridge condo complex, this single-family home has decks, a two-car garage and views of Castle Peak. This is the largest of the three floor plans offered in Aspen Ridge, located between Eagle and Gypusm.
51 MacDonald St., $479,950
Specifications: 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 1,811 square feet
Year built: 2001
Number of Zillow results: 13
A fully-finished basement adds square footage and open space, while stainless steel appliances and granite countertops check off items on buyers’ wishlists. There’s also a deck and a one-car garage, and the unit is located within walking distance of the Eagle Elementary School and the businesses on Capitol Street.
22 Murray Rd., $489,000
Specifications: 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 1,350 square feet
Year built: 2019
Number of Zillow results: 9
The condos, built this year, have three-level floor plans and one-car garages. It’s finished with a modern, chic and very bright white appliances and finishings. There are also large windows for daylight to further amplify the brightness.
137 Benchmark Rd., $499,000
Specifications: 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 984 square feet
Year built: 1985
Number of Zillow results: 29
Because it’s built in 1981, not all the finishings in the house are modern. The home has views of Beaver Creek and is within walking distance of the Westin Riverfront’s gondola, meaning easy access to the slopes. There’s also an option in the onsite rental program to lease the home out.
382 Taylor St., $430,000
Specifications: 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 670 square feet
Year built: 1951
Number of Zillow search results: 2
This house is for sure a fixer-upper home for the creative homebuyer. The roof has rusted, the finishings are dated and surely some elbow grease will be required to make it a home. It is right off of downtown Minturn, and gets some views of fields and Meadow Mountain.
555 East Lionshead Circle, $455,000
Specifications: 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, 437 square feet
Year built: 1973
Number of Zillow search results: 9
Located in the Lift House Lodge’s condo hotel, this home is located right in LIonshead Village, meaning the Born Free Express is right outside the door. The finishings in the home aren’t modern, but they also don’t look dated or ugly, and comfort and location come at the price of space. There’s an option to buy into the rental pool agreement when signing, and all units are managed and maintained by the Lift House.
Gore Creek since 2013 has been listed on the state’s list of “impaired waterways.” Several years of work are paying off, but getting off the list has become more difficult.