Will real estate market match 2015 numbers?
By the numbers
$895.8 million: Total sales volume of Eagle County real estate sales through July 31.
14 percent: Decline from the same period in 2015
997: Total transactions through July 31.
7 percent: Decline from the same period in 2015.
Source: Land Title Guarantee Co.
EAGLE COUNTY — The local real estate market seems to have taken a step back from the heights hit in 2015 — at least so far this year.
Through July 31, dollar volume in the county — the value of all sales — is off 14 percent from the first seven months of 2015. For July, volume was off 19 percent from the same period in 2015.
Transactions are off, too, but by a lesser amount.
According to the latest data from Land Title Guarantee Co., transactions for the year through July 31 is off 7 percent from 2015. Activity in July was off 31 percent from the previous year.
FEWER BUYERS, HOMES
But one longtime valley broker doesn’t think the year-over-year comparisons are fair to current market conditions. Craig Denton, a broker in the Vail office of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, has sold real estate in the valley — mostly the upper valley — for nearly 40 years. He believes the current market conditions are due to a couple of factors.
“We had a hell of a 2015,” Denton said. “A lot of (properties) got picked up, and a lot of people got off the fence and bought.”
The financial slump that began in earnest in 2008 took a number of potential buyers out of the active market, Denton said. That, in turn, created a good-sized group of people ready to buy when the economy was more robust.
A very active year in 2015 — particularly in the upper reaches of the local market — has diminished both the pool of buyers and the number of really desirable homes on the market, Denton said.
“Buyers are saying that properties aren’t checking enough boxes for them,” he said. And, he added, selling homes that need upgrades has been made more difficult by the fact it’s currently hard to hire construction companies and subcontractors to do that work.
THINGS ARE STILL BUSY
On the other hand, Denton said he and his son and fellow broker, Kyle, are busy right now. That seems to be true across the entire company.
Denton said that the company’s list of homes under contract in July was up 25 percent over the same period in 2015.
Much of that activity is in the western valley. In July, average prices were up from the same month in 2015 by 7.4 percent in Eagle and 3.9 percent in Gypsum. And, as is usually the case, those two towns together account for roughly 25 percent of all market activity. Avon and Eagle-Vail also account for about 20 percent of all transactions.
Those markets remain active even as the sales of very expensive homes has slowed.
And, market fundamentals remain strong.
“We’re still seeing strong consumer confidence,” Vail Board of Realtors Executive Director Mark Bergman said.
Bergman added that interest rates remain very low and should stay that way for some time. Bergman noted that the Federal Reserve Board recently met in Jackson, Wyoming, and decided to hold off on rate increases for now.
And, Bergman said, the board’s data shows a good number of pending sales across the local industry.
“I think we’re going to see closings in August are quite high,” Bergman said. “I think by the end of August, or in September, we’re going to be on par with (2015).”
Bergman said he expects to see the average sale price rise back above $1 million this year, too.
“We’re still seeing a pretty balanced market — it’s neither a buyer’s market nor a sellers’ market,” Bergman said, adding that sale prices now average about 96 percent of listing prices.
Denton agreed that the market fundamentals remain solid.
“People are coming (to the valley) and the Front Range is booming,” Denton said. “If a property’s priced right, it’s going to sell.”
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, firstname.lastname@example.org and @scottnmiller.