Vail Valley rental demand remains strong, despite uncertainty
Even with new units opening, complexes are full, with waiting lists
- 150: Units currently occupied at Spring Creek Village in Gypsum.
- 270: Units at the Lake Creek Village apartments in Edwards.
- 96: Units at the Timber Ridge apartments in Vail.
- 22: Units at the Two10@ CastlePeak apartments in Eagle.
We’re heading into a winter with plenty of uncertainty, due mostly to the COVID-19 pandemic. But there’s one constant: finding rental housing is a challenge.
Town of Vail Human Resources Department Director Krista Miller said the town is only now really ramping up its seasonal hiring efforts. But the message to those coming in for the season is the same as it’s been for just about the entire history of the resort.
The town has a small number of units it can rent to seasonal employees, Miller said. For others, the message about housing is “really no different than prior years,” Miller said. “We’re communicating with candidates and pointing out potential resources.”
Those resources include classified ads in the Vail Daily, Craigslist and Facebook groups.
Vail Housing Director George Ruther said he’s been talking with rental managers, and occupancy is “healthy” — meaning 90% or greater — throughout the valley.
Many waiting lists
Ruther said he speaks weekly with the property manager at the town-owned Timber Ridge apartments. That complex has a “sizable” waiting list, and the apartments are 100% occupied. The story is the same at the Middle Creek Village apartments.
Ruther said while most complexes have waiting lists, people are probably on lists at multiple properties.
That story is consistent west of Dowd Junction.
Eagle County manages more than 400 apartments, from the income-restricted Riverview Apartments to new units at Two10@ Castle Peak in Eagle. Eagle County Housing Department Director Kim Bell Williams said new construction has added a number of units to the valley’s rental housing stock. Much of that new inventory is already occupied. There are long waiting lists elsewhere.
The new Two10@ Castle Peak units are the exception, with eight of the 22 available units still available 60 days after opening. Most of the available units are the one-bedroom “plus” units, which rent for $1,600 per month.
The first 150 units of the Spring Creek Village apartments in Gypsum are occupied. Bell Williams said it appears that many of those units are being rented by people leaving crowded units elsewhere.
Moving to the mountains
While local demand is strong, people who want to move to the valley are also contributing to demand for rental units.
Karen Gilbert of Mountain Sky Realty manages 91 rental units across the price spectrum. She said she fields calls every day about all kinds of rentals.
For every property vacated by a local, it’s taken up by someone from out of town,” Gilbert said.
People are moving despite the uncertainty of the coming winter, Gilbert said. Those from cities including Los Angeles, New York and Boston mostly just want to get out of a big city.
That’s the same trend local Realtors have been seeing this year in the for-sale market.
Those who want to move before buying a home will often offer to pay cash for several months of rent while they’re looking, Gilbert said.
While new rental units have been built, with more coming on line over the next several months, Bell Williams said those new units will only dent current demand. She cited a 2019 housing needs study that indicated a right-now demand for as many as 5,000 new units, split about evenly between rental and for-sale units.
Bell Williams said while the new units may be taking a little longer to fill, “I have no doubt that by the time the snow flies, all the new units will be full, if not overflowing.”
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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