Vail Valley’s high-end real estate market is showing strength in 2018 |

Vail Valley’s high-end real estate market is showing strength in 2018

By the numbers:

26: Sales of $5 million or more for 2018 through May 31.

45: Sales of $5 million or more for all of 2017.

28: Sales of $5 million or more for all of 2016.

43: Sales of $5 million or more for all of 2015.

Source: Land Title Guarantee Company.

EAGLE COUNTY — The high-end real estate market here is something of a fixed commodity when it comes to supply. But demand seems to be rising.

Over the past three years, sales of very expensive homes — $5 million or more — have become “active” in the words of brokers. That activity seems to be increasing.

The latest report on Eagle County real estate from Land Title Guarantee Co. shows there were six sales of $5 million or more. The largest single sale — a new single-family home in Vail’s Spraddle Creek area — was for $18.5 million.

The high-end market is vastly different than the one in which most locals operate. In May, sales of $5 million or more represented 4 percent of all transactions, but accounted for 28 percent of the month’s dollar volume. In contrast, sales of $500,000 or less made up 32 percent of all transactions, but 10 percent of the month’s dollar volume.

John Pfeiffer, managing broker of Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate, said the high-end market is a good indicator for the market as a whole.

The message of those relatively few high-end sales is that “People have a lot of faith to invest that kind of capital,” Pfeiffer said. “That should send a positive message no matter your price point.”

‘Incredibly strong’ market

Ron Byrne has been in the valley’s resort real estate market for nearly 40 years. Byrne described the current high-end market as “incredibly strong,” then listed a number of sales for far more than $5 million:

• A condo at the Chateau at Beaver Creek recently sold for $13.5 million.

• A sale in Vail Village hasn’t closed yet, but is under contract for $13.6 million.

• The condos above the new Ski & Snowboard Club Vail headquarters are both under contract, both for more than $5 million each.

• The new penthouse above the Red Lion in Vail Village recently sold for more than $11 million.

Byrne’s firm brokered the deal for the Spraddle Creek home. Byrne said that home wasn’t on the county’s Multiple Listing Service, and sold “very quickly.”

In fact, a number of homes in the market’s upper reaches are listed through individual brokers.

Tye Stockton, of LIV Sotheby’s International Realty, in Vail said he currently has what he called an “off market” listing in Vail with an asking price of $21.5 million.

“The owner doesn’t want a lot of looky-loos” in the home, Stockton said.

Stockton recently brokered another off-market deal at the Ritz-Carlton Residences in Vail. That condo essentially doubled in price from its last sale in 2010.

Byrne said that a number of his potential clients are coming from Latin America. That’s a change over the past couple of years. The Vail Valley has always had a strong attraction to buyers from Mexico, Central and South America. That attraction cooled after the election of President Donald Trump. But, Byrne said, buyers started to return about the end of 2017.

Wherever buyers are from, Stockton noted single-family homes and duplex units seem to be drawing more interest at the moment.

Still, Stockton said, inventory remains low.

Strong demand, short supply

Given that the high-end market is naturally limited — there’s only so much slope-side real estate in the valley — there’s always a question of just what will come on the market in a given year.

But units do come up. Byrne noted that some units will stay in one owner’s hands for 10 years or more before coming up for sale. Others come up more quickly.

A home on Rockledge Road in Vail made news in early 2017 when it sold for just more than $23 million. At the time, it was believed to be the largest single home sale in Vail’s history. That home is again under contract — the owner’s needs changed, Stockton said.

Stockton and Byrne noted that Beaver Creek seems to be on the brink of a resurgence. There’s the unit at The Chateau that recently sold. And, Stockton said, four homes now for sale at Peregrine Villas — the site of the old Beaver Creek fire station — represent the first all-new residential construction in 12 years at the resort.

Still, Byrne said, that resort has more available inventory than Vail right now.

Given the strength of the high-end market, Stockton cautioned potential buyers to be realistic in their expectations.

“Make sure everything is perfect: the furnishing, the maintenance, the grounds,” he said. This time of year, people are taking more time to walk around a home and property. Landscaping today can help sell a home, particularly given the evolution in how people are using their vacation property. Homes that used to be winter getaways are now seeing more use in the summer and fall.

“We’re starting to compete favorably with nice, warm weather climates,” Stockton said.

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

Support Local Journalism