Vail Valley real estate buyers are a geographically diverse group |

Vail Valley real estate buyers are a geographically diverse group

While most Eagle County home buyers are based here, buyers come from all over the country. A small percentage of buyers are from other countries.
Justin Q. McCarty | Special to the Daily |
The breakdown Here’s a breakdown of where 2018 real estate buyers came from: Local: 54 percent. Front Range: 17 percent. Out of state, U.S.: 27 percent. International: 1 percent. Source: Land Title Guarantee Company.

EAGLE COUNTY — Any real estate market has variations. What doesn’t change much in Eagle County is where buyers come from.

Land Title Guarantee Co. tracks the Eagle County market through sales data filed with the Eagle County Clerk & Recorder’s Office. That data includes where buyers are located.

Since 2013, a little more than half of all buyers come from Eagle County. Front Range buyers account for around 15 percent. Between 25 and 30 percent of buyers are from the U.S. outside of Colorado. International buyers make up 1 or 2 percent of the total.

A couple of longtime local real estate brokers wonder if the international sales numbers are accurate.

Ron Byrne, of Ron Byrne and Associates, counts among his clients a number of people from other countries. Byrne said international buyers are often subject to federal rules about real estate purchases. That prompts some buyers to work through attorneys in this country. Others create U.S.-based limited liability companies.

Byrne said some buyers use those methods for legal purposes, while others do it for privacy.

Whatever the reason, when the records come through the county, buyers are classified as U.S. based.

Tye Stockton, of LIV Sotheby’s International Realty in the Vail Valley, also has a number of international clients. Stockton said his best guess is that the real number of international buyers is roughly double what shows up in the statistics. Byrne said he believes Stockton’s guess is probably accurate.

While those buyers tend to purchase expensive homes, which has a significant impact in sales volume, the number of those buyers is still fairly small.

But the number of out-of-state U.S. buyers is significant. In the Vail Valley in 2018, Texas represented the biggest cohort of those buyers, followed by Florida, California and Illinois.

But Andy Forstl, of The Davos Group Vail, said he’s seeing buyers from all over the U.S.

And, Forstl said, the Front Range market is particularly active right now, particularly with homes selling for $1 million or less.

“There’s a lot of people relocating,” Forstl said.

John Pfeiffer, the managing broker of Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate, said the county’s buyer mix is impressive, particularly compared to other resort areas.

“Ours is actually fairly blended market, and we’re thrilled to see that,” Pfeiffer said. “It helps us maintain a healthier market.”

Pfeiffer said Eagle County, particularly on the Eagle River side, is diverse in geography, housing stock and, somewhat, in the diversity of businesses here.

“In other markets there isn’t a lot of industry to make (non-resort income),” Pfeiffer said.

And, while housing is in tight supply, there are a number of different price points available.

Another advantage of this part of the county is Interstate 70, Pfeiffer added.

“Anywhere you live in this valley that you choose to live is driveable,” he said. “You’re not driving a two-lane road over a mountain pass.”

Pfeiffer is relatively new to this part of Eagle County, having worked in Summit County for many years.

Pfeiffer said many Summit County teachers, firefighters and others live closer to Denver and commute. Elsewhere, a number of people commute to Telluride from Montrose, more than an hour’s drive in good weather.

“We have affordable housing that’s still commutable,” he said.

Acknowledging this valley’s “substantial” housing crunch, “compared to Jackson (Wyoming), we have it made,” Pfeiffer said.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at and 970-748-2930.

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