January real estate sales up from 2014 figures
By the numbers
116: Closed real estate sales in January.
44: Sales to residents of Eagle and adjacent counties.
12: Sales to Texas residents.
3: Sales to international buyers, one each from Mexico, Brazil and the United Kingdom.
Source: Land Title Guarantee Company.
EAGLE COUNTY — The new year started strong for the local real estate industry, especially sales in Beaver Creek.
According to the latest date from Land Title Guarantee Co. — which tracks sales by neighborhood in Vail — the 12 January sales in Beaver Creek led all of the county’s neighborhoods. Those sales totaled nearly $30 million in sales volume, again, the most of any neighborhood in the county.
Overall, dollar volume for January was more than 40 percent higher than January 2014, while total transactions were 8 percent higher than the same period in 2014. As usual, a handful of high-end sales — five sales of more than $5 million each — accounted for a big chunk of the month’s dollar volume. Those five sales — of 116 total — generated more than $42 million of the month’s $145.3 million in dollar volume.
In contrast, sales of $500,000 or less accounted for just 5 percent of the month’s sales volume.
The strong showing in January continues a trend of market strength in 2014. For the year, the $1.8 billion in 2014 sales volume in Eagle County was the best since 2008.
IMPACT OF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
While January was a good month, February’s numbers — Land Title’s figures represent closed transactions recorded at the county — could show a bit of dip.
Julie Bergsten, vice president of Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate, said the first two weeks of February saw many of the company’s brokers and employees volunteering for the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. The company was a “huge” sponsor of the championships, Bergsten said, adding that both the company’s staff, and potential clients, tended to be otherwise occupied during the events.
With life in the valley returning to normal, brokers are back to working with clients, and Bergsten said there have been a “couple of really big sales” that haven’t yet shown up in the county’s records.
APPROACHING A SELLER’S MARKET
So what are people buying?
That depends on the neighborhood, of course, but Bergsten said the fact of the matter is there isn’t much available inventory right now. In fact, the available homes for sale are lower now than during March of 2007, toward the end of the previous decade’s real estate boom.
That means the valley may be getting close to a seller’s market, Bergsten said.
On the other hand, buyers are still able to be particular about where they’d like to put their money.
A familiar refrain among brokers is that buyers tend to want units that are either new or remodeled. Bergsten said that’s been the case at Slifer Smith & Frampton.
New units are moving briskly at Brookside in Avon, Bergsten said, and new homes being built at Buckhorn Valley in Gypsum are selling, too, with five units under contract there.
Sondra Slappey, of Double Diamond Real Estate in Eagle-Vail, said remodeled units tend to bring premium prices, adding that buyers right now tend not to want to take on remodeling jobs themselves. Many of the clients Slappey is talking to are relatively young retirees — people between 55 and 65 — who are interested in moving or investing, but who don’t want to take on remodeling jobs themselves.
The problem, Bergsten said, is that once most sellers decide to move on, they’re reluctant to put more work into those units.
“We’re trying to think how to bring those two sides together,” she said.
MORE POTENTIAL SELLERS
While there isn’t much in the way of brand-new homes in the valley, Slappey said she anticipates more potential sellers deciding to list their units in the next few months, adding that historically, most sales are completed in September and October.
Despite the speed bumps in the market, Bergsten said Vail Valley real estate remains a fairly simple proposition: “If people want to be here, they’re going to come,” she said.
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, email@example.com and @scottnmiller.