Market Report: By the numbers — Go with the flow
As summer approaches, the local real estate selling season gains momentum
S WE DOG PADDLE through the “slow” season here in the Vail Valley, our attention turns to the water running through every part of our community. Why? Because the run-off is truly amazing, the power that it generates leaves us in awe every year as we watch it swell. From the waterfalls and creeks to the Eagle River and the Colorado River, this ever-changing body of water attracts us. We want to float in it, fish in it, camp next to it, ride its rapids and play in its eddies. It feeds the natural surroundings, the foliage, fish, bugs and wildlife, not to mention those of us who make a living on it and in it.
Come to think of it, the river is a perfect example of how real estate trends in this Rocky Mountain area flow. The little creeks that feed into the bigger rivers are our unique neighborhoods that feed into our overarching valley community. The market picks up raging momentum and then eddies out, sometimes to a standstill. Then, picks up again. We are mesmerized by it especially when we are close to it, for example, buying or selling a house. When we find the perfect home, we dive in. Or, when we sell, it gives us the opportunity to float into something bigger or smaller, depending on our needs, but the point is, it’s constantly flowing.
First Quarter Flow
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As winter moves into spring at the close of our first quarter, the numbers reveal where the headwaters of our real estate market are: the resorts. And, for the most part, the rest of the valley should pick up momentum moving west or downhill, much like our creeks and rivers. The resort markets of Vail and Beaver Creek have produced some of the highest increases in average sales cost as well as volume. This is evidenced in the number of closing sales. As we roll into our summer selling season, down valley or the western communities will continue picking up speed.
Continued strength in the broader economic landscape coupled with strong stock market returns support the pricing increase in the high-end resort inventory. Vacation and second homeowner customers have kept the luxury market active and competitive. Wealth springs — it’s a small but powerful starting point.
Vail Board of REALTORS® past board chair, Matthew Blake, observes, “Overall, the opportunity for increased growth in sales, continued strength in average price and percentage of sale to list price bodes well for our market. We are seeing this everywhere from the absorption of inventory within new condo developments in Vail and LionsHead Village to sales in mid and down-valley markets.
“As the ski season transitions into late spring/early summer, REALTORS, buyers and sellers can expect an active, exciting flow through the selling season. Many are hopeful for a greater selection of inventory coupled with strong buyer demand among nearly all property types.” In other words, hop in the raft we have the potential for a wild ride this summer. And yes, there will be areas that don’t have the same power as others. But that doesn’t mean they won’t pick up speed at some point, you never know. It truly is fascinating to watch.
Take a Dip
Just like the snow attracts a certain type of visitor and homeowner, so does the water. While many folks come for the snow sports, others come to fish, float and ride the rapids. Those same people have been coming here for years, taking a dip in our exciting lifestyle. Increasingly, these people are choosing to make the Vail Valley their home — diving in to our refreshing approach to life. What was once a portfolio investment is now shifting toward a lifestyle investment thanks to the increased, consistent promotion of our summer recreation and events. At one point our motto was, “We come for the winters and stay for the summers.” Now, we come for the summers.
Corey Lamothe, VBR board member discusses the current market in the mid-level price range, “Right now, the market under $700,000 is raging as evidenced by the low inventory. I have clients from Denver who are actively looking to incorporate the mountain lifestyle into their future. Many have been researching the market for years and realize that now is a great time to make their goals a reality. It’s like the run off, picking up speed. In my opinion, this will affect the market from the resorts moving west, properties will keep moving quickly. In addition, the high cost of rentals means it’s more financially viable to own rather than rent in this market niche.”
Lamothe continues, “I also have local clients who are ready to upgrade in size and quality of their property, which requires market knowledge, understanding and expertise — almost like a river guide taking you through the ups and downs of each wave train, as neighborhoods have their differences. It is noticeable that as the current continues westward so do buyers looking for lifestyle and increased, year-round recreational accessibility.”
The first quarter numbers continue to support a seller’s market despite a continued inventory challenge. Although a lack of inventory is not a horrible thing, it has spurred an increase in new construction, which boosts our local economy — a healthy sign. The unique geography, diverse real estate inventory and combination of resort and residential property types keep the Vail Valley afloat. In other words, keep paddling the water will continue to change so enjoy the ride.
Visit VBR.net for Vail Valley real estate market information, how to find a REALTOR®, and timely neighborhood and community research.