Will the Vail Valley see a post-virus real estate bump?
A number of people came to the valley of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001
In the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a number of people decided they’d had enough of city life, and the Vail Valley gained some new residents. The same may be true in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Longtime Vail Realtor Ron Byrne said he’s already fielded a handful of calls from people looking to get out of the city once it’s safe to travel.
The trend of moving to the mountains, especially by those with the means to do so, isn’t new. Byrne said he works with “four or five” clients a year in normal times. He expects that to accelerate.
“People see (Vail) as way more than a vacation spot,” Byrne said. And, he added, he’s recently seen evidence of people using Vail as a getaway.
Byrne and his wife walk every day from his home near Vail Village out to Sunburst Drive, near the Vail Golf Club. Lately, Byrne has seen perhaps 10 people out and about on those walks.
Getting out and about
“Sunday, we must have seen 30 or 40 people,” Byrne said. A friend told him that it seems a lot of Front Range residents are starting to feel some cabin fever and may have come up to their places in Vail for a while.
Local broker Tye Stockton of LIV Sotheby’s International Realty also has a number of clients in the upper end of the market.
Stockton said he and his team have been talking about what the post-virus market might look like.
“We feel people are going to move here in greater numbers,” Stockton said. A number of those people will come from urban areas including New York City, Chicago and Miami.
“People don’t want to be that close (to other people),” Stockton said. “They want wide open spaces and a mountain lifestyle.”
Stockton’s team has shifted its marketing to reflect that desire for a more wide-open lifestyle.
“We’ve gone from listing what we’ve sold to lifestyle images,” Stockton said, adding that he’s created the #vaillifestyle hashtag, with images of fly fishing, mountain biking and other activities.
‘A flight to quality’
Stockton called moving to resort areas a “flight to quality.” Places including Vail, Aspen and Nantucket are already popular spots. They may become more popular.
Technology is also driving people to get out of cities.
“In the last three weeks Zoom has become so prevalent,” Stockton said. “A lot of people that already had a lot of flexibility … have gotten really comfortable,” he added. “They can be on Zoom and be very productive and stay engaged.”
But it’s going to take some time for people to start traveling again, even from the Front Range, much less from farther-flung destinations.
John Pfeiffer is the president and managing broker of Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate. Pfeiffer said that company is fielding a lot of calls about property up and down the valley. But, he added, business has slowed considerably. For now, Pfeiffer said he expects some “severe” impacts to the local economy, and, perhaps, a pretty slow summer. But, he added, he expects the economy to recover strongly when people can travel and hotels and restaurants re-open.
“I think we’re going to be pleasantly surprised,” Pfeiffer said.
Byrne shared Pfeiffer’s optimism, adding that he expects the top tier of valley real estate will stay strong as we come out of the virus outbreak. Other markets might soften slightly, he said. Those markets might “take a while” to recover, he said.
“We have wonderful assets (in the valley) and those aren’t going away,” Byrne said. “But people need to get comfortable (with travel) again.”
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at email@example.com.