Through recession, Summit properties fared better than those in Vail, Aspen |

Through recession, Summit properties fared better than those in Vail, Aspen

Caddie Nath
summiti daily news

Recently released numbers from the Summit County Assessor’s Office tell a dismal story of the impact the recession has had on the local housing market, but even in the face of an average 16 percent decline in property values, Summit real estate still fared better than its Eagle and Pitkin county neighbors.

“Values declined. That’s the long and short version,” Summit County Assessor Beverly Breakstone said. “But in comparison with other resort communities it’s actually minimal. We didn’t see the declines that were seen by Eagle or Pitkin.”

Summit County properties were hit hard by the recession, losing a painful grand total of almost $3 billion in aggregate value countywide.

Data collected by the assessor shows that most homes were depreciating between 2008 and 2010 at a rate of .9 percent per month, ultimately showing a 16 percent dip in the average county property value.

Property sales also dropped off in Summit over the last few years. The average 94 sales per month in this year’s revaluation reports is barely half of the 173 average monthly sales reported in 2009.

But in the neighboring ski communities of Vail and Aspen, the recession’s toll was worse. Vail saw an average decline of 24 percent in property values, while values in Avon, near Beaver Creek, dipped 34 percent. Aspen saw a 20-30 percent dive.

Figures from smaller towns to the west were somehow even worse. The Aspen Times reported a 60 percent decline in home prices in some locations near Basalt, while properties in Gypsum, saw 40-50 percent drops.

Property value information, released every odd-numbered year, reflects trends in the housing market from the previous two years. The numbers released in 2011, therefore, are based on data collected between June 2008 and June 2010 – the first to reflect the impact of the recession.

But some are now seeing at least the first signs of light at the end of the tunnel in Summit County. Breakstone noted with optimism a slight uptick in property values in February 2010 and local real estate agents said, in the field, they’re also starting to see the market begin to stabilize and sellers more willing to accept lower prices.

“I’m very encouraged by the finds I’ve seen the first half of the year and the enthusiasm of buyers,” said Kouri Wolf, a real estate broker with ReMax in Breckenridge. “(Summit County) is a lifestyle people still want to buy into.”

But not everyone is as optimistic. Frisco ReMax broker Butch Elitch said he expects the downward slope to continue this year and home prices to hit bottom next year, though he said he did see an increase in transactions going through as sellers become more realistic about values.

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