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Vail Valley real estate about more than just location

Inventory, construction costs and buyer demand also factor into equation

The demand for new real estate product, such as the Riverfront Lodge at the Westin in Avon is helping drive price appreciation in resort areas.
Slifer Smith & Frampton photo | Special to the Daily
By the numbers
  • 9.38%: Percentage of Eagle County’s real estate dollar value represented by sales in Vail Village.
  • 54: Transactions resulting in that $194.6 million in sales volume.
  • 7.44%: Percentage of county real estate sales volume represented by sales in Eagle.
  • 241: Transactions needed to result in $154.3 million in sales volume.
  • Source: Land Title Guarantee Company, data for the first 11 months of 2019.

EAGLE COUNTY — Through the first 11 months of 2019, the biggest share of Eagle County’s real estate sales volume — 9.38% — came from Vail Village.

On 54 transactions.

Beaver Creek accounted for the second-biggest piece of the dollar-volume pie for the same period — 9.03% — but on 114 transactions.

Eagle, meanwhile, accounted for 7.44% of the county’s dollar volume, but on 241 transactions.

All this sounds fairly obvious: “Location, location, location” is the oldest saying in the real estate business, after all. But is there anything more going on?

Michael Slevin, the owner and president of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colorado Properties, said a bit more than just slopeside location is working in the high end of the market.

Slevin said a combination of natural appreciation, along with the costs of land and construction, all drive prices in the valley’s busiest resort areas.

“What’s telling is that the market is validating some of these prices,” Slevin said.

Per-foot prices rising

That’s driving per-square-foot prices ever higher — something that applies to both resort areas and local residential neighborhoods.

In the resort areas, per-square-foot prices are hitting, and exceeding, $3,000 and $4,000 per square foot.

In November, the highest per-square-foot figure was just more than $3,000 per square foot for a half-duplex in Vail Village. The other half of that duplex sold for just more than $2,900 per square foot.

That shows a solid demand for new construction, Slevin said.  

Eric Burgund, a broker with Slifer Smith and Frampton Real Estate, said he’s seeing the demand for new units in the quick sales of units at the Riverfront Lodge at the Westin in Avon. There, 19 condo units have gone under contract in just less than three weeks.

Buyers of those units, often second-home buyers, “don’t want to manage a (renovation) project from afar,” Burgund said.

New product in high demand

The desire for new construction is also being seen in Gypsum.

Jeanne Landreth, the sales and marketing director for the Villas and Cotton Ranch, said that 72-unit townhome project has seen sales of around 13 units per year.

There, Landreth said, “People can drive a little bit farther and get exactly what they want.”

Landreth and her husband, JT, spent a number of years in the development business in and around Chicago. Landreth said the market there is similar to the Vail Valley, with the more desirable property bringing higher prices.

“Location, location, location is everywhere,” Landreth said.

While Beaver Creek required more than 100 transactions to just about match Vail Village’s dollar volume, Slevin said that resort is a more diverse market than just Vail Village. In fact, he said, Beaver Creek is a kind of compressed version of the Vail market from East Vail to West Vail. Like Vail, Beaver Creek has a range of units from $500,000 to $600,000 up to multi-million-dollar mansions.

But, Slevin added, while a two-bedroom condo in Vail might be priced around $900,000, a similar unit in Beaver Creek could be $600,000 or $700,000 — depending on location and condition, of course.

And, Burgund said, even at resort prices, there are some good values to be had.

“If you’re going to buy a home in Beaver Creek or Vail that hasn’t been remodeled, you’re (buying) significantly below replacement cost,” Burgund said.

But the overall market may be in a “new normal” period, Burgund said.

With inventory low and declining, along with steadily increasing costs for land, construction or materials, there’s going to be steadily increasing pressure on prices, no matter where in the valley a home is located.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at smiller@vaildaily.com or 970-748-2930.


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