Vail Daily Editor Don Rogers: The next boom to come |

Vail Daily Editor Don Rogers: The next boom to come

Don Rogers
Vail, CO, Colorado

Count this among the “permanent” changes of our deep downturn: A much higher percentage of properties in Eagle County will be second homes.

You scoff? Don’t. Our resort neighbors in Summit, Pitkin and Grand counties run higher than our 49 percent as of a 2004 study by the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments.

Yes, I know that our community’s population historically grows faster than most coming out of recessions. It’s just that the easy money for the little people which pumped up the bubble will be gone even when the banks are loaning again.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported on jumbo loans losing government backing at the end of the year.

And so it goes.

What does Eagle look like at, say, 67 percent second homes like Summit? Actually, that’s pretty close to Vail’s 70-plus percent without a downvalley to bail ’em out.

Longer term, I think this might mean that the county commissioners and other public leaders we mock for Stratton Flats and other “affordable housing” initiatives will be celebrated in the future as visionary.

The advantages of a relative middle class in Eagle County will get thinner as forces akin to gravity pick up momentum in replacing longtimers who move out with second-home buyers delighted to buy in.

There’s plenty to disagree with in this 10-minute analysis, starting with fears that there will be fewer people of means with interest or ability to purchase a slice of our paradise.

Even so, I think our supply will remain limited and precious. You and I simply will have less means precisely because of this burst bubble to share in it. Plenty still can afford it.

Those of us who hang on now will benefit just fine in the more distant future — maybe seven to 10 years, as most of the folks who didn’t see the cliff in the way of those trend lines pointing up now believe this trend will run as it has been for at least that long. That’s because they drive looking in the rearview mirror, earnestly believing that the shape of the road behind is the same as ahead.

It’s not. There’s always some surprise, some unintended consequence of something we only thought we understood, to change everything — for better as well as for worse.

I suspect change may come sooner, perhaps when other parts of the country start building again and our relatively massive ratio of construction people move away.

Or maybe legislation will free up lending institutions to do what they are supposed to do: lend.

Or both. Then look out.

Editor and Publisher Don Rogers can be reached at or 970-748-2920.

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