Eagle County Real Estate Market Report: Inventory and pending sales on the upswing
The Vail Valley’s inspiring summer season is in full swing and the real estate market is showing equally positive trends, with active listings up 16.55%, and 162 listings in July 2023, compared to 139 in July 2022. Pending sales are also higher than a year ago at this time.
Market activity remains strong with new listings continuing to come to market. Despite challenges with higher interest rates, buyer demand is still strong and homes that are priced to today’s market are selling on average in two months or less. New construction and remodeled homes are capturing buyer attention, fueling strong sale prices and continued bidding wars for new and “like new” construction.
Pricing to the market remains paramount. In all geographic areas and price points, buyers remain selective and critical of price, location and condition. Properties that have not garnered attention because of condition still have a place in the market — but they need to be priced accordingly.
If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, one of the biggest questions is: What’s happening with home prices? And it’s no surprise you don’t have the clarity you need on that topic. Part of the issue is how headlines are talking about prices. They’re basing negative news by comparing current stats to the last few years.
But you can’t compare this year to the “unicorn” years (when home prices reached record highs that were unsustainable). And as prices begin to normalize now, they’re talking about it like it’s a bad thing and making people fear what’s next. But the worst home price declines are already behind us. What we’re starting to see now is the return to more normal home price appreciation.
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What it means for buyers and sellers
Larry Agneberg, a broker associate for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colorado Properties’ Vail-Lionshead office, notes the $4M+ luxury market remains strong, though it’s not all things to all sellers. Sales of luxury homes are down for the past six months — 65 for July 2023 compared to 106 in 2022. The average selling price per square foot continues to climb, up 7 percent to $1,718 from July 2022, which to some degree seems to be impacting Active Days On Market, up 17% to 122 days.
“Buyers in this market are being more selective and prefer newer and more modern rather than homes that need work,” Agneberg said. “The right property at the right time and at the right price still sells quickly.
Currently, there are 128 homes on the market in the luxury $4M+ range, with an average of 183 days on market, causing a shift to a more balanced market. This also opens up options and negotiating opportunities for buyers. That being said, waiting has never proven to be the best option.
“Active buyers should be aware of and stay on top of the market so that when the right property surfaces, they are ready to make an offer. The most desirable properties are still selling quickly,” Agneberg said.
Conversely, sellers with long market times might want to reevaluate their pricing positions to encourage buyers to meet at an agreeable price.
Midvalley and downvalley
For midvalley and downvalley buyers, the return to some market normalcy is a welcome change. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean it has swung to a buyer’s market. Jared Saul, a broker associate with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colorado Properties, advises buyers to keep a close eye on interest rates as they are shifting oftentimes month-to-month.
“While it’s still a seller’s market in some areas of the market, there are creative options to work with sellers, including having the seller give a credit toward buying down the interest rate or exploring an adjustable-rate mortgage,” Saul said.
Be patient but be ready to move quickly when the right property comes along — odds are there are other buyers out shopping and the desirable properties are still selling quickly. If a property has been on the market for a couple of weeks or longer, this could present an opportunity for a lower-priced offer.
“Many buyers have become conditioned to not offering less than the asking price because of the past couple years’ market frenzy,” Saul said. “This is where an experienced broker can be a great asset.”
For sellers, pricing is key. This is not 2021 and buyers are savvier — and less desperate.
“I encourage sellers to not put too much stock in what their neighbor said or the price that an acquaintance threw out in passing over their broker’s research,” Saul said. “If you have a truly exceptional/one-of-a-kind property, there may be grounds to price it on the high end of the market; however, make sure you aren’t allowing too much of your own bias to cloud your judgment. Be prepared for some give and take — focus on checking the most important boxes and conceding a bit on other points to get the deal done.”
Michael Slevin is the president and owner of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colorado Properties, started by his father, John, 52 years ago. The company has grown to 12 offices in 10 communities, spanning from Grand and Eagle Counties to the Western Slope.