Valley remains a seller’s market | VailDaily.com

Valley remains a seller’s market

Cliff Thompson

Continuing a dramatic turnaround, the county’s second largest industry – real estate sales – is poised for a record season at the halfway point of 2004.June’s sales totaled $158.7 million, 151 percent better than June 2003 and the best June since 2000. That brings the year-to-date total to $896 million. If the current trend holds through the remaining six months, the year-end total sales should hit $1.79 billion – a new record. Last year sales totaled $1.4 billion. June was a busy month for both sales and purchases of real estate. There were 313 separate transactions, compared to 191 last June.Driving the dollar volume to new heights are sales of high-end, resort properties on the slopes of Beaver Creek and Bachelor Gulch.”The high end is back,” said Led Gardner of Sonnenalp Real Estate. He said he recorded 38 closings on Beaver Creek properties priced at $2 million and higher – that’s better than double last year’s 18 closings during the same time.Two large Beaver Creek properties sold for a combined $14.8 million. One carried a $7.5 million price tag and the other, $7.3 million.”We’re marching into the $1,200 per square foot range in Beaver Creek,” said Bob West of Robert Dean West Company. “The entry price in Beaver Creek is $695,000.””We’ve got people waiting in line,” West added. “It’s a great village with a lot of amenities.”He attributed the hot market to a much improved national economy.There were only 19 sales of property priced at $1 million and higher, but they contributed $73 million, or 46 percent of the dollar total for the month.Sales of what in Eagle County is defined as “entry-level” housing – priced at $500,000 or less – also surged in June with 184 transactions that contributed nearly $54 million to the sales total. The average sales price in this category was $294,672.Much of the sales activity in entry-level housing occurred in Avon, Eagle-Vail, Eagle, Gypsum and in Basalt in the Roaring Fork valley.Sales of mid-range properties – those priced from $500,000 to $1 million – showed more strength than in previous months with 44 sales totaling $32.5 million. The average sales price for homes was $739,898.Countywide the average sales price dipped to $507,208, because of the number of transactions at the low end of the market.There were an additional 66 properties, mostly vacant land, that sold for $22 million during the month.From the number of contracts being written in June and July, the remainder of the summer and early fall should remain strong, brokers said.The resurgence in real estate sales activity started last August, rejuvenating what had been a flat market. Last June, in the wake of the war in Iraq, sales totaled just $105 million. But in August they rallied to $122 million and have maintained their momentum.Cliff Thompson can be contacted via e-mail at cthompson@vaildaily.com or by calling 949-0555 ext. 450.