Vail Valley’s real estate market running short of homes for sale
A September record for real estate sales volume and a lot of transactions wasn’t sustainable. The result of a hyperactive summer is very low inventory right now.
Didi Doolittle, Eagle County manager for Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate, said at this point there are still more homes listed for sale in Eagle County than there are units under contract — but not by much: 440 residential units for sale and 349 units under contract.
But those numbers vary from week to week.
Mike Budd, an Edwards-based broker with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colorado Properties, said in just the past week there were 10 homes newly listed for sale, with 21 under contract and 41 closed sales.
“We’re as low (in inventory) as I can ever remember,” Budd said.
The speed of the local market over the summer has also been reflected across the range of the market.
Budd said the market under $1 million — which usually accounts for a large majority of all sales — has slipped recently. Through September, 57% of all sales were for $1 million or less. That means more homes are selling for $1 million or more.
Part of that could be very low mortgage interest rates, Budd said. Rates mean that buyers looking in the $750,000 to $1 million range might now be looking at homes priced between $1 million and $1.2 million.
There’s a bit more inventory in homes priced at more than $1 million, Budd said. But, Doolittle added, she’s been seeing homes move quickly in just about all the valley’s price ranges.
There are a couple of ’ifs’
That comes with a couple of caveats, though.
Doolittle said buyers tend to want “turn-key” homes — units that are ready to move into just after closing.
Homes also have to be priced right.
440: Active residential listings in Eagle County as of Nov. 20
349: Residential units under contract in Eagle County as of Nov. 20.
319: September real estate transactions in Eagle County.
$515.6: Value of all September transactions.
Tye Stockton, a broker with the Vail Valley branch of LIV/Sotheby’s International Realty said he’s seen cases recently where brokers go along with a potential seller’s unrealistic price just to land a listing. That’s not good for anyone, Stockton said. Homes will sit, and both buyers and sellers will become frustrated when a unit doesn’t move, he said.
But landing listings can be difficult, Stockton said.
Stockton does much of his work in the luxury market, and he tries to maintain relationships with his clients. He said he’ll call clients on the anniversary of their home purchases, and will sometimes ask if they’re interested in selling.
Many of those clients tell Stockton they loved their homes when they bought them. With turmoil in so many urban areas, many of those clients are even more happy to stick where they are.
The current market is just part of the natural cycle of real estate, which goes up and down with the economy and market factors.
We’ve seen another side
Stockton noted the current market is the opposite of the local market in 2010 or so. Back in the depths of the national recession, there were plenty of homes for sale — many of them bank sales — and relatively few buyers.
The current market will end up normalizing, Stockton said. What that might take is hard to tell, but putting more certainty into the local and regional economies will help.
As the winter develops, there may be more certainty about the season, the Vail Resorts reservation system and other factors.
Doolittle said inventory usually gets thin — but not this thin — as fall moves into winter.
Moving into the Christmas holidays generally means more potential buyers are in the valley, Doolittle said. But that influx of buyers can also prompt some people to sell, she added.
“At least that’s what we’re hoping for,” she said.
Joan Harned, co-owner of Eagle’s Team Black Bear branch of Keller Williams Mountain Properties, said she knows of properties coming on the market in 2021 — although that’s all she’d say.
And, as you might expect from a veteran of 30-plus years in the local market, Harned said she’s not particularly worried about the current inventory shortage.
“This could be the busiest year I’ve ever had,” Harned said. “Next year will be even busier.”