Will Beaver Creek be the next hot market? | VailDaily.com

Will Beaver Creek be the next hot market?

While most Eagle County home buyers are based here, buyers come from all over the country. A small percentage of buyers are from other countries.
Justin Q. McCarty | Special to the Daily |

EAGLE COUNTY — Vail’s real estate market had a good 2014. The rest of the valley was OK, too, but a bit more of a mixed bag.

The value of real estate sales in the county surpassed $1.5 billion through the first 11 months of 2014. That’s the first time since 2008, just before the valley dropped into the national economic slump, that the “dollar volume” of sales has been that high.

There are any number of reasons for the market’s improvement, but here are three significant ones: Foreclosures and bank sales have all but disappeared from the market. Sales of very expensive real estate increased, and that always brings up both averages and total numbers. Finally, prices in many areas are starting to rise.

Eagle on the rise

Judith Evans, a longtime broker in the Edwards office of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colorado Properties, does much of her work in Edwards and Eagle. Evans said prices in Eagle’s Eagle Ranch have started to recover from a significant drop through the slump.

“Houses that first came on the market in the $700,000s are now selling in the high ($800,000s),” Evans said.

Evans said her business in 2014 was “very nice … but not overwhelming,” acknowledging that there’s not a lot of inventory in the downvalley markets.

Brokers interviewed for previous stories have said higher-priced units down valley are selling somewhat slowly, perhaps because of the presence of similarly-priced units closer to Vail.

But, Evans said, the more expensive downvalley units have their own charms. Homes are generally newer, she said. And the same amount of money will provide more square footage and/or land to a downvalley buyer.

“And not everybody cares about being close to Vail Village,” she said.

Vail strong, Beaver Creek improving

In Vail, the market had a very good year.

Led Gardner, a broker with Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate, said the entire town for 2014 will surpass 2013’s sales by as much as $200 million. About $170 million of that increase has come in Vail Village and Lionshead Village.

“With the perfect property and location, some sellers are starting to dig in, and some buyers are starting to accept that,” Gardner said.

Gardner said Vail is in something of a “transitional” phase, with values climbing in both the expected spots — the resort cores and in ski-in/ski-out areas — and some new areas. Gardner said there have been some sales in the Vail golf course neighborhood in which buyers spent $5 million or more for homes that will be torn down and replaced. Those replacement homes will be valued or priced at $15 million or more he said.

“Those are new highs for that area,” Gardner said.

While downvalley units are moving fairly quickly, and Vail Village and Lionshead units are selling well, that’s not the case throughout the valley. Evans noted that a recent look at the real estate ads in the Vail Daily showed nearly 40 units for sale in Beaver Creek and Bachelor Gulch.

The relative softness in that part of the resort market could be poised for a change.

Gardner said the market in Beaver Creek and other areas could be due for some new interest from buyers.

“There are some older properties there that will see extensive renovations,” Gardner said.

Barbara Scrivens, a broker with Vail-based Ron Byrne & Associates Real Estate, said the valley has areas of good activity, as well as areas where the market is still somewhat slow. She agreed with Gardner that Beaver Creek, as well as Arrowhead and other areas, could be ready for increased activity.

“I think we’re firming up in Beaver Creek and Arrowhead,” Scrivens said.

Scrivens added that Byrne’s company recently sold a $4.1 million home at Red Sky Ranch, a private golf community near Wolcott. “It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a $4.1 million sale there,” Scrivens said.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, smiller@vaildaily.com and @scottnmiller.