May was best month so far for real estate | VailDaily.com

May was best month so far for real estate

EAGLE COUNTY — The real estate market in the western part of the valley is as hot as it's ever been, with one big caveat: The preceding applies mostly to homes priced at $450,000 or less.

"We're seeing homes go under contract within days and often with multiple offers," broker Mallie Kingston said.

Kingston, who works from the Gypsum office of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colorado Properties, lives in the Buckhorn Valley neighborhood in Gypsum, just south of the Eagle County Regional Airport. Kingston said right now everything in that neighborhood is either sold or under contract. Many of those homes are priced between $400,000 and $500,000.

Kingston echoed a now-familiar plea from local brokers — a lot more homes are needed in that price range.

On the other hand, homes priced above $500,000 aren't moving as quickly. Kingston has a listing for a home in the Eby Creek Mesa neighborhood near Eagle. That home is listed at $679,000, and Kingston said people have looked, but no one has yet made an offer.

As is usually the case, homes priced at $500,000 or less made up a significant portion — 50 — of the 128 Eagle County homes sold in May. Given that most of those sub-$500,000 homes are in the western valley, it's no surprise that Eagle and Gypsum combined for 42 of the month's home sales.

Recommended Stories For You

RESORT AREAS SELLING

At all levels, May was the best month of year for both transactions and the value of those sales. Julie Bergsten, vice president at Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate, acknowledged that sales in the first quarter of the year were somewhat tepid. But a combination of homes going under contract in April and closing in May resulted in a very good month for the market, with numerous sales in areas that have only recently shown real life.

High-end real estate in Vail's resort villages is selling well. In May, 12 transactions in Vail Village accounted for $41 million in sales volume. Some of those sales are just the start of the new owners' investment.

Longtime local broker Ron Byrne said in an interview last week that his company had recently sold a home for $2,800 per square foot and that the new owners are planning an extensive renovation to the property.

In addition to Vail's resort areas, Beaver Creek and Arrowhead in May saw 11 sales each, which means those areas are seeing some enthusiasm from buyers.

"Some people just want to be in Vail," Bergsten said. "But some people are open to looking at other things. Beaver Creek offers a little bit better value than Vail. It's the same with Arrowhead, and once people figure that out, they're looking."

In one respect, Arrowhead is a bit like Buckhorn Valley — there's simply nothing available right now.

DEMAND EXCEEDING SUPPLY

While there are homes being built from East Vail to Dotsero, neither Kingston nor Bergsten expects supply to catch up with demand any time soon.

"Financing is still hard, and material costs are still pretty high," Bergsten said. And in the resort areas, available land is always hard to come by, meaning new construction is most likely in areas that developers renovate or rebuild.

Even that has its problems.

At a Tuesday Vail Town Council work session, Mayor Andy Daly said he's talked to the owner of the property that once held the Roost Lodge. That old hotel was torn down in anticipation of a new one, but rapidly-increasing construction costs have put the project on hold for the indefinite future.

While new homes are needed, Kingston said the market in the western valley has some buyers she hasn't seen in some time.

"Many of our sales right now are move-up buyers," Kingston said. "In the past few years people would sell and move or we'd have short sales or foreclosures. Now we're seeing more buyers moving up from townhomes to single-family homes."

Despite the lack of inventory, Bergsten said she expects the current active market to continue to some time.

While the numbers from June won't show up at the Eagle County Clerk and Recorder's office for a while, Bergsten said last month was a busy one.

"June was super busy, for both signing contracts and closings," she said "We're going to see way more (sales) than last year."

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, smiller@vaildaily.com and @scottnmiller.

By the numbers

162: Closed real estate transactions in May.

134: Previous best month for transactions in 2015, set in April.

$160.5 million: Value of May real estate sales.

$41 million: Value of the 12 May transactions in Vail Village.

Source: Land Title Guarantee Co.