Vail Ask a Realtor column: Is it a buyer’s market or a seller’s market? |

Vail Ask a Realtor column: Is it a buyer’s market or a seller’s market?

Joan Harned
Ask a Realtor
Joan Harned Ask a Realtor

Dear Joan: Is this the worst time to buy property in the Vail Valley? It is my understanding that prices have been shooting up and it is a seller’s market. It seems everyone is talking about it, including Realtors I know. I have been renting for years when my family and I came to the valley. I can afford to buy something now but do not want to be a fool and buy at the top of the market. Sure wish I had done something sooner. Do you recommend I wait a little longer?

Timing Quandary

Dear Timing Quandary: Before I talk about the numbers, I want you to know that I am always about buying something now, no matter the market, if you can afford it. That way, you can start enjoying the wonderful experience of becoming a homeowner in this one-of-a-kind location immediately.

No one is promised tomorrow, so we must work on feeling our joy every day. Home ownership has the ability to give you joy, even when you are not here, much like thinking about someone special in your life when you are apart.

Now that you have my philosophy, let’s talk numbers. If you use the standard of how many months of inventory we have as a means to tell if we have a buyer’s or seller’s market, then I think you get a better picture if you break up the market by price range. Six months of inventory (homes for sale) is considered a neutral market (not a buyer’s or seller’s market). Fewer than six months of inventory is considered a seller’s market and more than six months of inventory is considered a buyer’s market.

In the $1 million-plus price range, there have been 405 sales in the past 12 months and 74 units are currently under contract. Considering there are 547 residential properties priced at more than $1 million on the market right now, that would be more than one year of inventory available and so it is considered a buyer’s market at more than $1 million.

However, if you are in the $500,000 to $1 million range, then there are 237 homes for sale, 438 sold in the past 12 months and 64 under contract — so a little less than six months of inventory and therefore leaning toward a seller’s market, according to the formula. As suspected, the less than $500,000 market has fewer than three months of inventory, with 537 sales in the past 12 months, 129 under contract now and 121 current listings (although dozens are not constructed yet) so it is definitely a seller’s market.

As always, I recommend you talk to your most knowledgeable Realtor and let him or her help you find the very best value in today’s market, in your price range and desired location. Hope we are welcoming you soon as a new homeowner in Eagle County.

Joan Harned is an owner and broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years. Contact Harned with your real estate questions at, 970-337-7777 or

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