A flight to quality: Remote working meets the great outdoors elevating a seller’s market in the Vail Valley

Vail Board of Realtors

Now, more than ever, a move to the mountains seems like a great idea. With remote access changing the way we work, outdoor recreation in abundance all around us, and perfect summer temperatures, why wouldn’t you want to live in the Vail Valley or at least spend the majority of your time here?

The May numbers support that case despite challenges created for our trusted Realtors® by the coronavirus pandemic including social distancing measures, a call to be safer at home, and the transition of public health recommendations.

Sales prices increase

Most notably in May, the median sales prices on all property types in the Vail Valley are up 50.2 percent over this this time last year. And, pending sales for Single Family-Duplex are also up 51.1 percent but decreased 15 percent for Townhouse-Condo category. This means the start of summer could be strong for closings.

Moreover, the May numbers give insight to the seller’s point of view. Not surprisingly, listings were down 19.3 percent in the Townhouse-Condo market and 16.7 percent in the Single Family-Duplex category compared to last year, making it abundantly clear, buyers have been quicker to return to the housing market than sellers.

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This apparent rebound of buyers seems to have coincided with the county introducing the thoughtfully planned process of reopening for business and tourism in late April. Realtors® are busy according to Alex Griffin, Vail Board of Realtors® VMLS Chair, citing his own experience.

“Our community did a great job flattening the curve in the spread of the virus. In late April, when Governor Polis approved Eagle County’s appeal
to reopen, and local officials announced the three stages of a countywide Transition Plan, we quickly became busy,” said Griffin. “I’m seeing Front Range and Denver buyers eager to come to the mountains and get away from metro restrictions and possibly less of an opportunity to be exposed to the virus.”

“These buyers, in my experience, are interested in turnkey properties with no desire to have a project on their hands,” Griffin continues. “It’s a ‘flight to quality’… quality in homes as well as quality of life.”

Inventory remains low

Another reason home sale pricing is on the rise has to do with the aforementioned lower inventory than usual along with strong home equity.

“COVID-19 aside, May and June are typically the highest influx of new inventory for our market. Although May listings are down, sellers could be patiently waiting through the county’s transition to reopening,” says Griffin. “Now that we are in the ‘blue’ phase, sellers may be relaxing a bit and capitalizing on the current buyer activity. And, as we move into the ‘black’ phase, providing there is no significant increase in virus cases and tourism returns, summer real estate should recover nicely.”

In addition to a safe transition for local businesses resuming limited activity, Vail Resorts is due to reopen to summer guests in late June or July, according to an announcement by Rob Katz, CEO. This, combined with the already open golf courses, variety of hiking and biking trails, river activities and resort leisure all bodes well for real estate to lead the way in an economic recovery for the Vail Valley.

With real estate on a positive trajectory, the low inventory remains a mixed blessing. Although it tends to drive the listing prices up, it also creates a challenge for local sellers looking to make a move.

According to Griffin, “Leaving the valley and selling a home is relatively cut and dry but, if you want to move within the county, it can be hard for locals to find a place to move to and align the transaction timing perfectly. This is where a knowledgeable Realtor® can make a big difference.”

So, despite uncertainty created by coronavirus, now appears to be good time to put a home on the market. This is confirmed by consistent, and in some cases an increase in, the percent of list price received which is hovering in the 94 to 97 percent range.

Griffin is looking forward to this summer’s selling season, “The luxury market is very strong. Singletree and EagleVail continue to be popular, and anything west of Edwards is traditionally in high demand this time of year. Buyers want to get outside, stay active and be in the open air. And, with remote working as a much more acceptable way of life, buyers are eager to live, work, and play in the mountains.”

If you are considering putting a home on the market, Griffin’s best advice is to plan ahead. Appraisers are very busy and booking a month in advance. Mortgage rates continue to be at record lows. And, there are some new construction opportunities in a variety of price ranges, but it’s not enough to offset the low inventory.

Contact a Realtor® today and discover the options that exist in the current market. Make lemonade out of the overabundance of lemons, and treat yourself to a rewarding summer with a new home in the mountains.

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