Vail Valley real estate market already over $1B
By the numbers
6: July sales in Vail Village.
$30.2 million: Value of those sales.
75: July sales in Eagle and Gypsum.
$36.3 million: Value of those sales.
Source: Land Title Guarantee Company.
EAGLE COUNTY — The local real estate market isn’t on the rocket ride it took in 2006, but it may be riding in a pretty fast car.
The most recent data from Land Title Guarantee Co., which tracks county records, shows the dollar volume of valley real estate sales passing the $1 billion mark in July. The market hasn’t been that active in years. The year-to-date total set July 31 is $110 million more than the mark set in 2014.
That sales volume reflects a good number of transactions, too. Through July 31 of this year, there were 1,075 sales, compared to 916 sales for the same period in 2014. The transaction numbers for both June and July of this year were virtually identical — 219 and 218, respectively — and both are highs for the year so far. But the news may get better.
While Land Title uses transactions recorded at the Eagle County Clerk and Recorder’s office, there’s more recent data that hasn’t made its final stop, either because deals haven’t yet closed or the sales haven’t yet been recorded at the county seat. That data shows the summer real estate roll continuing.
“Historically, August and September are our biggest contract writing months,” said Suzi Apple, of Gateway Real Estate. “July was a tremendous month, and August has already surpassed that.”
Jim Flaum, managing broker of Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate, agreed with Apple.
“There’s been a lot of activity,” Flaum said.
MIX OF BUYERS
Apple said she and the other brokers at Gateway are seeing a mix of buyers, from second-home purchasers to young families. That latter group has Apple excited.
“We’re seeing a lot of young families picking up and moving here, making this their primary residence,” Apple said. “It’s exciting that people believe enough in the valley that they’re coming here.”
Apple said a family she’s been showing homes to is currently based in Cleveland. The family has friends who once lived in Ohio and have moved here.
“(That family) is the last of the group to come,” Apple said.
Apple said number of the families moving to the valley have jobs that can be done just about anywhere. Easy access to the Eagle County Regional Airport and a relatively quick trip to Denver International Airport help sell the valley to many, she said.
Apple said that influx of younger buyers has been the biggest surprise of the past several months.
“It used to be that parents would wait until their kids were through with school to move,” Apple said. “Now families are pulling their kids out of school to come here.”
The problem, as it has been for some time, is the lack of homes.
“Inventory continues to be a challenge,” Flaum said. “There’s only a certain amount of properties in each price range … Not much new has been built for seven years now, and there isn’t a lot coming.”
The problem is the high cost of building, Flaum said. Even when prices were dropping due to the economic slump, Flaum said construction costs have continued a slow climb that became a quicker climb as the industry recovered.
“It’s hard for developers to make sense (of a project),” Flaum said. “It’s still cheaper to buy (an existing home) than to build a new one.”
While the real estate market is on a roll right now, and Flaum said September looks good in its first few days, uncertainty is lurking. Bigger forces may slow down the market’s roll.
“With the roller coaster ride the stock market’s been on, that could have an effect,” he said, adding that even a small hike in interest rates could affect potential buyers’ ability to find an affordable mortgage.
“One thing I’ve learned over the last 36 years is that I’ve given up trying to predict each month,” Flaum said.
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, email@example.com and @scottnmiller.
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