Vail Valley real estate dip continues in March |

Vail Valley real estate dip continues in March

Brokers cite lack of inventory, but expect more activity in spring, summer

The first phase of the Fox Hollow homes at Edwards is about half sold, mainly because it's still under construction. This artist's rendering shows what part of the project will look like.

By the numbers

18%: Decline in year to date real estate transactions as of March 31 compared to 2018.

11%: Decline in dollar volume of those transactions for the same period.

26.5%: Share of transactions in Eagle and Gypsum.

31%: Share of year to date dollar volume from 12 sales of $5 million or more.

Source: Land Title Guarantee Company.

EAGLE COUNTY — The dip in the local real estate market that began in January continued through March. But brokers expect sales to pick up as the weather warms.

Land Title Guarantee Company tracks real estate activity filed with the Eagle County Clerk and Recorder’s Office. The most recent data, which tracks the market through the end of March, shows a dip in both transactions and the dollar volume in the first quarter of the year.

While March posted more than $161 million in dollar volume and 132 sales, those figures are the lowest since 2016 and 2015, respectively.

It’s unclear what’s causing the dip. But, brokers say, one quarter doesn’t represent a trend.

John Pfeiffer, the managing broker for Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate, said he thinks the lack of inventory is a continuing problem.

There may actually be a bit more inventory in the upper reaches of the market, Pfeiffer said, adding that there’s “a lot of incredible opportunity” in Bachelor Gulch at the moment.

And there’s still a lot of interest from potential buyers.

‘A constant stream’

Michael Routh of Keller Williams Mountain Realty said he and other brokers at that firm are fielding a “constant stream of buyer inquiries.”

The problem comes when a broker starts working to meet a buyer’s wish list.

“You start looking and (the right property) doesn’t seem to exist,” Routh said.

Debbie Darrough of KKS Realty agreed that it can be hard to check every box on a prospective buyer’s list of wants or needs. Still, there’s a lot of activity.

Pfeiffer noted that while people in the Baby Boom starting to downsize, there’s still a demand for large, expensive homes — such as the ones found in Bachelor Gulch.

Pfeiffer said people in new generations are starting to show interest in what he called “legacy” homes such as the ones in Bachelor Gulch. And, he added, those buyers are younger all the time.

Those people are keeping their homes, too, Pfeiffer said, as opposed to the boom years of the previous decade when new units often changed hands several times before anyone spent a night in them.

One new project, Riverfront Village, adjacent to the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa in Avon, sold out in less than two months.

“As far as I know, all of those are end users,” he said.

For people downsizing out of their primary residences, Darrough said those people are finding the same problems as first-time buyers.

Those buyers don’t necessarily want to move to the western end of the valley, Darrough. Similarly, younger buyers tend to want to stay closer to friends and activities.

Some quick transactions

But if the right property comes up, and at the right price, it goes quickly.

Darrough said her daughter’s family wanted to upgrade last year, but had to sell their home first. The home went on the market on a Thursday, and was under contract by Sunday.

That activity is a bit more complicated when buyers are trying to envision what a new property might be like.

Routh is involved in the Fox Hollow homes in Edwards. Routh said he’s fielding calls on the project. But, since it’s still under construction, potential buyers have a hard time envisioning what the final product will be.

At the moment, Fox Hollow is on track to have 26 units completed by the end of this year. Half are under contract. Routh said he expects to have more sale commitments as the project nears completion.

Many of those deals will close in November, but Routh said those transactions will represent work done sometimes months in advance.

And despite the early-year dip, Pfeiffer and other brokers are optimistic about activity in the coming months.

“There’s a push of deals being done in April and early May,” that will show up in the June Land Title Report, Pfeiffer said.

Given that Eagle County is again a $2 billion per year real estate market, Pfeiffer said that some peaks and valleys are inevitable. He isn’t particularly concerned about a dip in one quarter.

“If we’re still talking about this in November, it’s a different story,” he said.

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

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