Vail Valley Voices: Signs of a pulse for economy?
Vail Valley Voices
Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from the Vail Homeowners Association monthly report in April.
We plan to publish weekly excerpts from the association, which keeps a close eye on economic and political trends in and outside of the town.
The association’s Web site is http://www.vailhomeowners.com.
The deep discounting of residen-tial real estate is having a positive effect on the pace of property sales. Realtors are reporting the highest number of properties under contract in the past six months. The town of Vail is estimating final collections will yield a 0.95 percent decline year over year in sales tax revenues for Febru-ary, a much less precipitous decline than the 15.72 percent for the same reporting period in 2009. Other town rev-enue streams are showing signs of a pulse as real estate and construction are no longer at a near-standstill as they were a year ago.
Vail Resorts stock price has dou-bled over its 52-week low of a year ago. Analysts are split over the justifi-cation for optimism. Even though the company’s second-quarter report indicated earnings were down 22.7 percent, due in part to the timing of real estate closings, some see Vail Resorts’ performance during this sea-son’s snow drought as an indication of strong positioning. If perception of favorable snow conditions remains positive, hotel bookings for spring skiing indicate a strong finish to the season, thanks in part to Vail Resorts’ concert series catering to the Mexican and South American visitors over the Easter holiday. Vail Resorts officials have an eye on opportunities to begin raising lift-ticket prices as economic conditions improve. Others are encouraging the move, saying the sooner the better.
Eagle County’s 2009 end-of-the-year real estate report detailed that it was the first year since 1996 that Eagle County did not surpass $1 billion in sales. Other sources indicate that 2009 residential-unit sales were low-er than 1992, when record keeping began. Vail Village single-family homes had the highest price-per-square- foot average at $2,088; a 31 percent increase over 2008 and the highest average price at $7.6 million. Vail Village also had the highest aver-ages for multifamily homes.
Since the first of the year, the Eagle County unemployment rate is on the rise, standing at 7.28 percent (2,289) at the beginning of March. It is still well below the federal (10.44 percent) and state (8.29 percent) rates for the same period. Many national market analysts continue to maintain cau-tious optimism, but prediction for the long term remains dour for job cre-ation. Some forecasters say that until the public’s confidence is restored in the efficacy of government, econom-ic advancement will continued to be constrained.