Vail Valley numbers game: Real estate contracts, closings don’t match |

Vail Valley numbers game: Real estate contracts, closings don’t match

Scott N. Miller
Vail, CO, Colorado

It can be a long way from the sales floor to the closing table in the Vail Valley.

That’s one lesson from a recent report from the Vail Board of Realtors. The other is that simple addition doesn’t always matter as much as what you’re counting.

The Vail Board of Realtors last week reported a 30-day spike in the number of homes that had gone under contract this summer. That spike – 77 homes between June 10 and July 10 – was touted as a big, big jump from activity in the first few months of 2009, when only 22 sales contracts were signed.

Those numbers were trumpeted as encouraging signs for a market that could use some good news.

But the contracts signed don’t match – by a long shot – the number of deals that have closed this year. Trevor Theelke at Land Title Guarantee Company tracks those numbers, using data from the Eagle County Clerk and Recorder’s Office.

That data shows that 356 pieces of property changed hands from Jan. 1 through the end of June.

Why the discrepancy? It comes down to the counting.

“We only count residential sales that have been listed on the (Multiple Listing Service) list,” said Chad Brasington, president of the Vail Board of Realtors.

That means only single-family homes, townhomes and condos listed through Vail Board of Realtors members are counted. And it leaves out a lot.

“That doesn’t count for sale by owner homes, vacant land or new developments that are sold before they’re listed,” Theelke said.

It also doesn’t count any kind of time-share or fractional property. While those are still real estate deals in every sense – from signing contracts to signing still more documents on closing day – they don’t make it to the Multiple Listing Service.

And, of course, no real estate deal is done until everyone’s work is done on closing day and the documents are filed with the county.

All of which means both Brasington and Theelke’s numbers are spot on, but they’re measuring different things.

Still, both believe they’re seeing an uptick in the local market – which, any way you measure it, is way, way off the numbers posted between 2005 and 2007.

“I’m working on the August numbers now, and they look pretty good,” Theelke said.

And Brasington, a broker with Prudential Colorado Properties, isn’t ready to announce the next boom yet, but he’s somewhat encouraged by the activity he’s seen in the last couple of months.

“We’ve had showings, we’ve had calls,” Brasington said. “You’re working again, and getting qualified buyers interested.

“For buyers who are still waiting, they may regret not acting in the next 60 to 90 days. I think we’re going to see prices stabilize, and that’s when we’ll see prices start to rise.”

Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or

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