Vail Daily column: Is it time to worry about the economy? |

Vail Daily column: Is it time to worry about the economy?

Joan Harned

Dear Joan,

I am starting to worry about the economy again. I could make a whole list of negative things happening in the world and can argue all day long about what is​ wrong and what could get worse. However, from what I have been hearing, things are getting better. Locally, there are more jobs, there is more construction activity and the real estate market is ​quite ​active.

Does the conflict between my worries and the optimistic things I’ve been hearing mean that I am the only one worried about the economy in the valley and the only one afraid to buy or sell now?

Dear Afraid,

I am sure there are other worriers here. Overall, however, we have an optimistic group in the valley and, true to the law of attraction, if you are feeling and acting like things are going well, they often do end ​up​ going well. ​

To determine the tone of our real estate market, one sign I like to note is when buyers are looking ​at​ and buying discretionary properties. Not only does that ​include​ buying second homes in our resort areas, but also commercial investments and ranch properties — none of which are necessities, or defined as your primary home that you live in all the time.

Everyone needs shelter, especially in the mountains. ​N​o one really needs discretionary property​ but it certainly is fun to own.

We have had buyers looking at ​and contracting ​nice ranches throughout December and January this year. ​This is not always the case, since most ranch buyers usually want to see the real dirt and not just snow. When showing some of them we have had to use snowmobiles even to approach the properties. Unless you are raising livestock or crops​​, a ranch is a fun purchase to be used for recreation, hunting, family gatherings and the like.

Second-home buyers are back and we have lots of buyers moving up in​ price on their primary residences so that ​the homes they buy are no longer​ necessities but are more similar to luxurious vacation homes.​

‘Don’t stay on the sidelines’

All of this activity makes me believe in the health of our economy. Our buyers are feeling confident in their jobs or businesses here and across the nation, so they are starting to enjoy that wealth again by buying these properties.

I predict that we have at least four more good years, so don’t stay on the sidelines. I am guessing — like everyone else — but remember: positive feelings bring more of the same!

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, is a past chairman of the Vail Board of Realtors, a past Realtor of the Year, a past director on the Great Outdoors Colorado Board and a member of the Luxury and Land Institutes. Contact Harned with your real estate questions at, 970-337-7777 or

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